Tuesday, 31 May 2011

imaginal cells

The February 22 earthquake has catapulted us into different times.
Suddenly we find ourselves on a new path; a new Lyttelton is about to emerge.
Nature shows us how this emerging process happens.
Look at how the caterpillar metamorphoses into a butterfly. Understand the role of the imaginal cells. 

Butterfly and moth lifecycles

Adapted from Nori Huddle

The caterpillar’s new cells are called ‘Imaginal cells’.
They are so totally different from the caterpillar cells that his immune system
thinks they are enemies…and gobbles them up…

But these new imaginal cells continue to appear faster and faster!
Pretty soon, the caterpillar’s immune system cannot destroy them fast enough.
Then an amazing thing happens!

The imaginal cells start to clump together.
They all resonate together at the same frequency.
The clumps of imaginal cells start to connect,
passing information from one to another.
This web suddenly realizes all together
that it is something wonderfully different from the caterpillar.
They have become a butterfly!

Each new butterfly cell can take on a different job.
There is something for everyone to do.
Everyone is important.
Each cell begins to do just that very thing it is most drawn to do.
Every other cell encourages it to do just that.

Are you an imaginal cell?

Written by Margaret Jefferies, chair of Project Lyttelton

Monday, 23 May 2011

thinking as a community

"There is no personal enlightenment.
Awakening occurs only in the activity of loving relationship."
-source unknown

Self-sufficiency, the term, is bandied around quite a bit these days.
I guess I just don't quite get people's thinking around it.
Don't get me wrong; I am committed to growing as much of our food as possible for our family, preserving the surplus, making as much from scratch as possible or recycling, upcycling or just doing without.
In a nutshell, keeping our home and family as a unit of production rather than of consumption.
But self-sufficiency has never been our goal.

Self-sufficiency surely is an illusion.
We live in a community with others and are part of the awesome web of life on this planet.
There is no me without you; there is no self separate from the whanau of others.
And so when we think about future-proofing the way we live we inevitably think about the community in which we live.
We practice thinking as a community.

(All photos taken while at our local Farmer's Market recently.)

For example, we live in a village which faces in the main southwards.

Not ideal growing conditions here in the Southern Hemishere, so when we look at food production as a community, we think about how we can design the community as a whole on permaculture principles.
We imagine dividing the village into microclimate zones so as to grow suitable crops for the particular climate of each backyard and sharing out the harvest.
When we get excited about becoming kaitiaki for honey bees we think of people in the community sponsoring the care of village beehives for the benefit of everyone.
When we think about the local economy, we think about an economy that will support everyone in the community not just line the pockets of a few. We barter where we can, we support the Timebank and we investigate cooperative ownership of business and land.
And when we think about growing our children, we look to our village and all the wisdom and skills embedded there and we rely on this to be the foundation upon which our children can grow safe and happy

So when we were asked why we were returning to Christchurch while at Auckland airport recently (the woman who asked was truly shocked that we would be doing such a thing), the answer for us was obvious.
We feel deeply thankful to have found this community after so many years of searching.
To dig our feet in here and to commit to the place means that we can call it home.

Sunday, 15 May 2011


Not only people, but also animals have been affected by the earthquake.

So there was no surprise when the greyhound-rehousing society had sleek and gentle hounds
in residence at the Saturday Lyttelton arty market a week ago. Lolling on the grass, waiting for a pat and rewarding you with a grateful look from their beautiful doe-eyes.
There was a litter of fluffy kittens to give away also. 10 out of 10 on the
cuteness scale.
I watched as many people, young and old, strolled over to those animals,
rubbing their tummies, stroking their beautiful fur, feeling their wooly warmth.
If you preferred human embraces there was the group of young women with
cardboard signs around their necks advertising 'free hugs'. They had come from
'the other side' (Christchurch), feeling they wanted to do something to cheer
people up. Some people were reluctant to accept the hugs, some went for it full heartedly, but everyone smiled.

We all need love and affection.
Nothing works better to forget the increasing cold and the rumbling earth

Go on, hug your hamster, give your Gramps a bear hug,squash all the children on the sofa with you for a group hug, and give those dearest to you a footmassage or a backrub.
Love in action, creatively expressed.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

unexpected consequences

Earthquakes,like any natural disaster, change things, sometimes in a small way,
or as a significant life change. One small way it changed things for me was the
location of my recreation.
Recreation for me is hill walking and I used to walk in the Port
Hills until the earthquake put a stop to that. All the tracks up there are
closed for safety reasons, so my options became very limited.

Orton Bradley Park, across the harbour from Lyttelton, where I live, is quite
abit further than my usual spots but as I especially like it over there, I
decided to make the journey 2 or 3 times a week, and walk in those hills. I
have been doing that for a few weeks now and have revelled in the natural
beauty of that region as well as the human created beauty. I have not only found spots
I never knew existed but what I try to do on my walks has been enhanced.

I enjoy walking for its own sake; there is the healthy exercise to start off
with, good for the ticker, the limbs and so on. But it also loosens up the creative
flow which we all possess. I'm not given to speech making, especially before an
audience, but I've made inspiring speeches up in those hills surrounded by
sheep and cattle, and they don't seem to mind.
Thoughts flow when the legs get moving. To gain a bit of concentration, I
focus, amongst other things, on nature's beauty.
Orton Bradley is full of expansive views, especially as one climbs the hill tracks, such as Tableland.
Mt Bradley looms over to the right, the valley is below and the sound of the stream is clear as it meanders down the valley. The autumn colours are striking at the moment, breaking the green of paddocks and native bush with glimpses of yellow and scarlet.
There is wildlife; hares for instance, but not rabbits I've noticed, and paradise duck, bellbirds and magpies. I've also spotted three-pointed spoors on muddy farm tracks, hinting at the presence of a certain
native bird that loves marshy swamps.

So, noone wants earthquakes or any natural disaster. But I have been reminded
lately that Mother Nature takes many forms and one of those is natural beauty
It is a beneficial and healthy antidote to earthquakes and their nasty
One that I recommend.

written by guest writer, John Cardwell

Monday, 9 May 2011


I tell her that the gaps won't be there forever.
She says: "A bit like London Street....."

It sure is nice to inhabit our main street again.
Nice to have the town's heart beating with our footsteps again.

Welcome back London Street.

...and farewell to the Camping Ground food caravan and from next Monday, to the Higher Ground Cafe.
Our heartfelt thanks for being there during the difficult last couple of months.
Witnessing our local favourites opening up in new and creative ways gave us strength and hope (and a coffee) when we needed it.
Enjoy the break Jenny and crew.
We'll continue to  enjoy Ground's goodness at the Farmer's Market until you return.

posted by Jacinda, also at www.watchingkereru.blogspot.com

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Lessons from Derry, Ireland

This article appears also in the lastest edition of The Lyttelton News which comes out once a month as part of the Akaroa Mail. The Lyttelton News is one of the projects that are driven by Project Lyttelton.

Derry in Northern Ireland could hold the answer for our community as to how our town and city moves forward in its regeneration following the earthquakes.

There are many parallels between Christchurch’s and Derry’s situations. Both were ravaged; one my nature, one by war. There was widespread destruction of both buildings and lives. The people felt disempowered – in New Zealand by the creation of a top down solution by the government appointed CERA and in Northern Ireland by Direct Rule at the time (the Thatcher Government).Just as Christchurch has a divide between east and west (affected and not so affected), Derry was divided by the River Foyle.
Derry was in a war zone, there were no communications, but at the same time others were wanting to raise families and work. The local council was in disarray. Rather than being directed from London the people of Derry craved a new way with community based workers and activities. They recognised that it was OK to be angry and complain but that it had to take them in a positive direction.

What Derry has managed to create over the last 15 years is inspirational.

Conal McFeely who has been engaged in the whole Derry process since its inception, spoke recently with community members in Christchurch. This gathering of people, keen to use our earthquake situation as an opportunity, learning from what has worked elsewhere in the world in similar situations, were interested to hear the Northern Ireland story and to see the possible ramifications for Christchurch.

Conal McFeely sees our present situation as a chance for the social sector to take a leadership role in regeneration. He described the mechanisms by which Derry did a huge turn around by engaging the local citizens.

In Derry there was a range of social partners, the community sector was quite strong.
Also there were the two main churches, Church of Ireland and Catholic. They had two dynamic bishops who were both interested in the people, not politics. They acted as the champions of the process.
The Trade Unions were also seen as one of the vehicles for change.
The sector got together and recognised that they needed to establish a structure to move forward on the task of urban regeneration. A Trust was set up. This was supported by the Local Authority.
Then another social enterprise – the Credit Unions - became involved giving access to capital. This became a self help situation; people doing things for themselves.
The first task for the Trust was to identify what land was owned by the public sector. There was concern that if land lay derelict, it would be moved on and used for development, an asset stripping of the people’s own land.
The next step was recognising that the people have a community of knowledge. Every household, every business and every young person in Derry, population 108,000, were and still are consulted. There was a demystifying of all jargon. Questions were asked. Was it possible to acquire land, how do you access resources from the government? This was a huge task, a “tall order” said Conal as there was a history of non engagement in the community.
So they started small, going for the creation of a community hub. They identified one destroyed building that was owned by the public sector and using resources such as unemployed people and recycled materials got things started. People began to rally around that one. The regeneration process was underway. They created a craft village in the main street with micro businesses on the ground floor.

This started to gain everyone’s confidence and to attract government support. Larger projects followed. The Tower Museum was the result of clever community sector thinking. The land was given to the Trust, this was used as the community owned asset that attracted government grants (heritage, lotteries) and a major European grant. The Tower Museum was built by people who had been long term unemployed.Other pieces of land became available, the residents became shareholders in their own regeneration.
The Calgach Centre is a big community and conference centre. Adjacent the city’s first hotel built in 25 years. It was constructed and rented to a hotel chain. Rent from that went into new projects. One of the Credit Unions built with its own resources its head office in Derry. All of the major amenities in the city are now owned by the community. The city won the European ‘best practice of neighbourhood renewal’ award. Recently Derry won the cultural capital of the UK award.Conal MeFeely talks about renewal, revival and regeneration as opposed to rebuilding and recovery. He sees that by bringing all the social sector people together - community groups, small businesses, progressive trade unions, local champions, credit unions and establishing a structure and a vision; identifying public land ownership; creating a hub for, by and with the community – all this creating a new movement, one where social enterprise becomes the vehicle of transformation. Not a top down approach but a process that engages the citizens. As a result of all this learning from Derry’s experience, those who attended the meeting are talking with all their networks, the first stage in gathering the community sector together. Identification of land ownership is the next urgent step.

written by Margaret Jefferies, chair of Project Lyttelton: www.lyttelton.net.nz

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

the wunderbar & the harbour union cd.

Last weekend was a big weekend.
Many of us here in Lyttelton celebrated the reopening of the Wunderbar.
After rumours of whether it was on or off the demo list, most of us were just keen to get down there, celebrate it's survival and enjoy some good music.
It was also the launch of The Harbour Union CD pulled together by some fine local bands and musicians such as The Eastern, The Unfaithful Ways, Delaney Davidson, Lindon Puffin and Al Park with all profits going towards the rebuild of our town and Christchurch.
Superb music, a great venue and  good people make for an excellent night.
Make sure to check out the CD.

posted by Jacinda Gilligan, also at watchingkereru.blogspot.com

reconnecting with her

By ‘her’ I mean the earth, our mother. I hadn’t realised until I visited Hinewai Reserve on Banks Peninsula last week that under the surface I’d felt a kind of mistrust of the earth, after all the shaking we’ve been having in the last six months. And it manifested as a kind of tension. Many of our local walking tracks above Lyttelton have been closed for danger of rock falls. And I just haven’t been getting the normal sort of exercise by biking to work, as I’ve been working from home mostly since the earthquake.
But walking among the forest and hearing the birds singing grounded me in an unexpected way. I felt centred and present in the moment, breathing the clean cool air, listening to the lovely forest noises and enjoying the light playing on the leaves. I could look around at the trees and have the sense of renewal and the cyclic nature of life. Even after an earthquake, the forest can look and feel the same. The trees bend and sway and keep growing.

written by Jodi Rees

Sunday, 1 May 2011

the final grind.

We all have different ways of coping with the loss and destruction of the many
Lyttelton buildings. We might take a few minutes to stand on the pavement,
watch the diggers and reminisce, but then we can carry on with our lives, meeting
friends in different settings, trying out a new cafe somewhere else. But it is
harder for the people who lived and worked in those buildings, whose dreams and
hopes and futures were interwoven with the fabric of those houses.

The owner, Jenny Garing and the staff of the Ground Delicatessen and Coffee shop came up with a
meaningful way of saying goodbye to their building.
The mother of a staff member is a potter and with her help they created a pot, middle-eastern in shape.
They embedded star anise and cloves into the clay. Star anise of course because it
features on the Ground logo.

Each staff member decorated a tablet of clay with their favourite spice,added patterns or inscribed it. The tablets were placed in the pot and given to the demolition person,
who carried the pot into the building before it was destroyed.
For the crew of Ground this symbolised 'the final grinding of the spices'
and they wanted the pot to merge with the rubble of the building.

After finishing the pot, they were a bit regretful to see it smashed as it had
turned out rather beautiful. So they made a second pottery dish, decorated it
again with spices and embedded the front door key of the old Ground building in
the clay. This dish will be fired and kept, a reminder of the great place that
Ground was, a pointer to the future when another key will unlock a new Ground.

Ground, the business, remains operational although in an altered form.
Ground sells it's spices and other tasty treats at the Farmer's Market each Saturday morning from 10am - 1pm.
'Upper Ground'is situated in the Top Club and offers meals, takeaway food, coffee, a small selection of delicatessen goods and a stunning view. 'Camping Ground' sells lovely take-away sandwiches and salads from a caravan opposite of it's old site on the corner of London street/Canterbury Street.

written by Bettina Evans